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Security In Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting your critical IT infrastructure.

Some Identities Are Worth More Than Others

Post by Peter McCalister September 23, 2011

We may be all created equal, but some identities are worth more than others. I’m not just talking about Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates being worth more than the average Mark or Bill working across the hall from you. It turns out that identity thieves target patient health information more than standard social security identities for good reason.

Yep, your medical identity is worth 50 times that of your social security number.

According to a recent AHIMA article titled Mitigating Medical Identity Theft, “Medical identity theft is a lucrative form of identity theft. A stolen Social Security number has an estimated street value of $1 per identity; the price of stolen medical identity information averages a much higher street value, at an average of $50 per identity.” The article goes on to say ”
The primary victim of medical identity theft is usually an individual—a patient, potential patient, health plan member, or healthcare consumer. Individuals who are particularly vulnerable include those with developmental or intellectual disabilities, minors, newborns, the elderly, and persons whose information may be included on public registries (e.g., cancer registry). Thieves often target the recently deceased.
Secondary victims include, but are not limited to, parties who generate, manage, use, or transfer individually identifiable health information. Examples include healthcare providers, health plans, and society as a whole.”

Rick Kam over at ID Experts also reported on this in his blog and made a number of suggestion on how to protect yourself that all center around implementing a least privilege solution and protecting your vital information assets from insider threats as well as those outsiders like Identy Thief Irene who will hijack insider privileges inorder to steal other identities.

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